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German rail operator halts trains as storm hits west

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BERLIN (AP) — Stormy weather caused severe travel disruptions in Germany on Sunday, forcing cancelations and delays to rail and air traffic, particularly in the west of the country.

Police said a 47-year-old driver died when a tree fell on his car in Bestwig, about 100 kilometers (62 miles) northeast of Cologne.

Train operator Deutsche Bahn said it halted long-distance and some regional connections in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia after several lines were blocked by trees falling on tracks.

German news agency dpa reported that some flights were canceled at Frankfurt airport, the country’s busiest, and two planes heading for Cologne-Bonn airport were diverted elsewhere due to strong winds.

Zoos in Dortmund, Wuppertal and Hamm were shut as a precaution because of the storm, while in Duisburg at large cargo crane was blown over, partially landing in the Rhine River, dpa reported.

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The country’s meteorological agency, DWD, had issued a storm warning Sunday for large parts of the western and central Germany, predicting gusts of up to 120 kph (75 mph).

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